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Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Hello! help me...  
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GarethAJones
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2014
Posts: 21
Location: victoria BC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 9:53pm
Subject: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

Hello everyone! long time lurker, first time poster here.

My Gaggia classic is giving up the ghost. The pump is dying. It's been a long time coming, and rather than trying to put a new pump in, and keep it going, I've been saving some money to buy a new (to me) second hand machine. I was hoping you all could give me some advice on which to pick. Size is not a consideration. Price is.

I'm going to Seattle in a few days and there are an absolute TON of machines available in the sub 500$ range.
Here's all the questions from the buyers guide sticky answered in order!

-I'm mostly an espresso purist. My wife loves macchiatos. The ability to steam half decent milk is important.
-We make around 6 to 8 shots on the average morning. (usually 3 or 4 each)
-call it an average of 40-50 shots a week
-we can plumb if we must, but we live in a rental and it would be a bit annoying. If a plumbed machine has a huge benefit over non plumbed, I'll take it
-Honestly I'm not sure what my circuits are rated at. The place has a new sub panel installed and 20 amps may be possible. I have 220v available.
-my target price range is 500$ I do have a grinder, a Macap M4
-I want to buy used, and am very handy. Included in my post will be the links to the machines im considering. (if this is against the rules I'll edit ASAP. I looked and didn't see anything prohibiting craigslist.)
-I have the works at home. Tamp box, RB tamp, etc. Anything else I might need will be easy enough. This post is for machine only.
In the 500$ range I've found a handful of vintage/older machines that look fairly decent. I'd love a rotary pump, and I'd LOVE a double boiler. I realize this is probably not possible, however some of these machines are VERY big. I've researched them as much as I'm able and literally come up with nothing. so without further comments, here's the links

Machine #1- Piacere unknown model http://seattle.craigslist.org/oly/app/4502169855.html
Machine #2 Brasilia "srl"? http://seattle.craigslist.org/tac/bfs/4502138843.html
Machine #3 Faema unknown model http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bfs/4508185569.html
Machine #4 "roma"?? http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/for/4502456403.html
Machine #5 Ibertal http://bellingham.craigslist.org/for/4498767706.html
Machine #6 ?? needs pump http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/bfs/4483088053.html
Machine #7 Crossland Click Here (www.usedvictoria.com)
Option #8 One of many Rancilio Silvias floating around in the 3-400$ range

I'm well aware that some of these machine are silly and large, and unsuited to home environs. I'm a little crazy and really would enjoy something obscene taking up a large part of my kitchen, but in the end, its really all about the shot, and whatever is best will be my choice
Thank you all so much and I'm looking forward to spending more time here!

-Gareth

(sorry for the long post!)
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GarethAJones
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2014
Posts: 21
Location: victoria BC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Mon Jun 9, 2014, 10:17pm
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

At this point I think the Brasilia might be my safest bet. Possibly followed by the Faema?
I really don't know a whole lot about pro machines, and I'm a little out of my depth. This machine is a big purchase for my wife and I (newlyweds), and I'd be very happy if I could find something to last the next decade. I'm not at all adverse to replacing a part here and there.

If I move into a home where I'm unable to plumb the machine directly, how much trouble would it be to wire a pump and use a cistern of some sort? Would this affect the shot quality in any way?
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alanfrew
Senior Member
alanfrew
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 645
Location: Melbourne
Expertise: Professional

Posted Tue Jun 10, 2014, 12:37am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

The "Roma" is your best bet. Note that 2 group machines need BIG, often 3 phase, power supplied. The Placere appears to be missing a group, it's almost certainly a steam/hot water machine. Brasilia is out of business and parts can be difficult.

Alan
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 394
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Tue Jun 10, 2014, 5:51am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

There may be a ton of machines in the sub $500 range, but that doesn't mean they are all good machines.  (I bought my NS Oscar for $250, needing a bit of work for $200 in parts.)

If you boost your budget just a little there's a Cuadra for $725 on Seattle Craigslist that might work for you.  They aren't highly popular, but do look nice.  Ready to go, just fill the reservoir, plug it in and you're heating up.  I know a roaster that uses one of these for his espresso machine with good results.

Another way to go is with one of the rebuilders.  They give short warranties on their rebuilds.  Single group machines from $700, as they report on their craigslist ads.

Definitely watch craigslist for a while to see if better deals come by, but the Cuadra looks to be a really good price on a used machine.
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GarethAJones
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2014
Posts: 21
Location: victoria BC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Jun 10, 2014, 9:09am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please
 

3 Phase is something I never thought of. I know bigger isn't better, but commercial machines are likelier to have some functions that would be missing on consumer models. I'm in conversation with the owner of the Piacere machine,  to try and get more pictures, and I'm asking if the group head is all there. I think the pictures may be deceptive.

The machines in the 700$ bracket look gorgeous, but 500 is already a stretch. I'll have to think very hard on it.


Unfortunately I never go to Seattle, It's a long way from Vancouver Island. I just happen to be going tomorrow and so I have whats available on the used market, and that's about it at this time. Espresso machines are much more expensive and harder to come by here.

This is another option that's come up http://seattle.craigslist.org/see/app/4513085279.html
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DanoM
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Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 394
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Tue Jun 10, 2014, 9:35am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please
 

Gareth,

Are you mechanically inclined?  If so look for a machine that might need a small bit of work.  My original NS Oscar was cheap for that reason, and the fix was easy and reasonable.  Look every day on your craigslist or other listing service and eventually you'll find a bargain.

Really all you need for a good espresso machine is:
Stable hot water for brew
Steam for milk
Pump for pressure
On/off switch
Pump switch
Valves for steam and hot water

Volumetric dosing and the like are not necessary.  Cutting off the shot by appearance is far more precise.  Timers built into the system also aren't necessary.  So other than that I don't know what a large commercial machine would give you besides a larger heating bill and more repair points.

I would shy away from the smaller home models and lean more towards the prosumer or semi-professional machines with single group.  Quite a bit of selection in that range, and the ones without the shiny cases like an Oscar don't carry as much resale value.  (They do hold their used value well though.  I lost no money on my Oscar after repairing and using it for a year.)
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 8,032
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Tue Jun 10, 2014, 11:27am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

A two group may or may not be 3 phase but it will for certain be 220 volt.
They are big and take up a lot of counter space. If you are good with that then.. OK.

Prosumer and commercial machines use for the most part, the same components inside. This makes repair for the most part fairly easy.
Brazilia is out of business but unless you need one of their machine specific parts such as a touch pad, you most likely will be fine, I have an older 2 group, bought as a fixer upper or parts from a church that I paid $75 and drove an hour and a half each way to get. All it needed was to have the vacuum breaker cleaned out. That is it, no parts replaced and it has been working fine for years now. It looks like it fell of the back of a truck on a gravel road at 60 mph but it works fine.

Machines pop up all the time, do not get in a hurry, tomorrow a new one will show up just as next week and next month. Some need more work than others and it helps if you have a grounded understanding of what you are looking at to make a choice.

Whatever you choose, you will need to do a descale / disassembly and cleaning on it. There is little in this world that is nastier than commercial equipment that has been in service and not been maintained.

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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CoffeeRon
Senior Member


Joined: 26 Apr 2009
Posts: 758
Location: Eatonville, Wa
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Wega Lyra, Europiccola(still...
Grinder: Macap M7D, Pharos, Vario W,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam CoffeeMaster
Drip: Melita BCM-4
Roaster: FR SR500,B-1600, SC/TO
Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 12:57am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

I can understand the desire to pick something up in Seattle while you're there, there are always a ton of commercial machines on CL. And I know it's quite a ways from where you are.

To answer your question about plumbing in, it's pretty quick and easy to hook up a flo-jet to a 5 gal. jug, so if you want to plumb in I'd go for it.

I'll second everything Alan said. The Roma wouldn't take up half your kitchen. Doesn't hurt to ask about the power requirements on a specific machine though. And if you want a monster in the kitchen, I say why not?  Faema is definitely a solid maker, the Iberital is looks pretty good as well- Be aware though if the auto dosing electronics go out on you it can cost a chunk of change for parts.
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GarethAJones
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Jun 2014
Posts: 21
Location: victoria BC
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 9:41am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

Well, my trip to Seattle is being put off for a week, so I have a bit more time to look. I get as much as anyone else, the benefit of waiting to see if something better comes along. The thing is, I just don't have the luxury. The trip to seattle and an overnight accomodation sets us back two days and 200$. I wouldn't even be going if it weren't for some immigration things my wife has to accomplish. So I'm left with what I can find. On the local front however, a really nice WEGA machine has come up for sale.

http://victoria.en.craigslist.ca/bfs/4489037108.html

It's a little out of my range but I'm going to try to make a deal. It's also about 6 hours of driving in total to get there and back. We'll see.

Is my Macap M4 a decent enough grinder to support a machine of this quality?

I'm really starting to wonder if I should do a couple upgrades to my machine, and spend all the money on a grinder. I know it makes more of a difference. I also know my Gaggia is the bottom rung of workable espresso.

*quick edit* the Macap is stepless (I didn't even know there was a stepped version).
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DanoM
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 394
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega, '84 La...
Grinder: Compak K10, Kludge grinder,...
Posted Wed Jun 11, 2014, 10:35am
Subject: Re: Hello! help me pick a machine from this list please!
 

If you want to be careful, conservative and probably make a better decision I would just continue to watch the ads until one jumps out at you and you feel an irresistible urge to buy.  6 hours is a long round trip, but if the machine is right and what you want then go for it.

More time watching the prices, and studying will probably pay off in the end with a better deal.  Probably...

Gaggia home machines...  Owners love them.  If you can stick with that a little while longer I'd keep shopping.  If you are looking at buying soon I wouldn't waste time & money modding the Gaggia.
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